The last 5 months have been hard. In January my mom started down the road that would lead to her death. I started living my life out of a suitcase. I pulled my family back and forth from Texas to Mississippi. On May 20th, mom died. She was buried on the 22nd, her birthday. May 31st, the day after Memorial Day, I stepped into my office in Austin, TX.
I’m writing this for me. You see, I’m depressed. Right now, at this very moment, I’m completely out of “normal.” So, this post is selfish. It’s for me. Yet, I know that many of you will relate.
I feel like I have lost grasp of what normal means.
Normal before January
Before January, normal was living my life with mom a phone call away. Normal was also a routine schedule that worked for me.
My life was detailed by times, places, events, and faces.
Life before January worked for me. It took me 36 years to design this life. I crafted it with purpose.
The New Normal is Chaos
From January to now, my new normal has been a mix of chaos and depression.
I chose the chaos. I could have stayed home, and waited for mom to die. I could have just dealt with the depression side of things, and kept living my life here in Austin.
But that wasn’t really an option. I needed to spend as much time with my mother as possible. So, I chose chaos. I chose a life on the road. Moving between hotels, my sister’s home, and back to Austin for turnaround trips.
Some people thrive on chaos. At least that’s what I’ve heard people say. I personally don’t thrive on chaos. I wither in it.
My life works much better with a vision. A plan. A process to work by, and a formula to trust in.
Yet, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson, I can’t control life.
I also can’t turn off my feelings like a light switch. Believe me, I’ve tried. I don’t want to be depressed. I want to feel good.
The Problem with Chaos
The biggest problem with chaos is that it multiplies.
Chaos finds itself taking root in all areas of your life.
Zig Zigler refers to life as a wheel with 7 spokes. Each spoke holds up a part of your whole being. When one of these spokes breaks, it causes the wheel of your life to become unbalanced.
So, my family spoke was broken when I lost my mother. I miss her. I’ve cried at this keyboard at the thought of her. Hell, I’m crying now.
Since then, I’ve also lost a client, and I’ve injured my arm lifting a tv. My relationships with family and God have also weakened. When it rains it pours.
How I’m Going to Get My Life Back
So, you get the picture. I’ve had a tough hand over the last few months.
But, I’m not alone. You have had your fair share of tough hands. You may be working through one now.
I have full intentions of getting my life back on track. Of restoring balance, and learning from this lesson.
This is my plan. It may work. It may not. Either way, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
1 – Give Myself Time
I’ve decided not to rush myself to reach “new normal.” I’ve never lived without my mother. I don’t know how long it will take to reach this “new normal.” Also, I don’t know where it is. But, I’m hopeful that I will reach it.
I’m taking my time getting there. I don’t want to rush it, because I run the risk of pretending. And, if I start pretending, then I haven’t really moved on.
2 – Seek Counseling
I will set a time to speak to a counselor. I’ll lean on my church as my starting point. I know that talking this out will help. Counselors and therapists can provide great help in working through tough life changes.
By the way, I feel uncomfortable about admitting that I might need a counselor. I logically understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. Yet, our culture tends to shame those that hurt in other ways. [To be clear, I’m pretty sure I’m not clinically depressed. I’m very sad. I’m distinguishing the difference for clarity.]
3 – Write About It
Expressing my thoughts to you has always helped me. I’m not too much of a private journal writer. I know the risk I run by putting personal thoughts out to the world, but I also know the rewards. You have been a great support system in the past, and I know that will not change.
4 – Count My Blessings
I’m abundantly rich. Through the last 5 months, the richness of my life has come to the forefront.
My wife is what all men wish for. She is beautiful, kind, wise, faithful, and loves me. She has been there as my ultimate support system through all of this.
My sister is the younger version of my mother. She loves me, and has provided and cared for our family during this time.
My riches go far beyond just my family. I’m blessed with a team that has held my arms for me when I’ve been tired.
Taking a moment to reflect on your blessings helps put things in perspective.
5 – Break Out The Plan
I plan the major events of my year. I write these events down, and create a visual board to represent the goals.
The wonderful thing about having a plan in writing is that you can always go back to it. You don’t have to recreate the plan.
This is important for 2 reasons:
1. Plans need to represent a positive belief. It is hard to be positive in tough times.
2. Even through my chaos, the plan has guided me. And, we have hit or exceeded or goals through all of this chaos.
6 – Do The Work
This is the hardest part. Just getting back to work.
When I say “work”, I’m not referring to training or coaching. Yes, that is work. But, it’s not the work I’m referring to.
I’m referring to touching and changing lives. That’s my ultimate work. To bring Power and Hope, and to Turn Learning into Earning for you!
Anyone can go through the motions of showing up to a job. You can turn your wrenches, type your words, or perform that surgery. And maybe you can do it well through the chaos.
But, the work that makes your heart sing happens when your soul is in it. When talent and passion align as one for a singular focus.
I put my soul into this. My heart is singing it’s tune to you now. It is a little sad today. But that’s ok. That’s just part of the process.
This is me getting back to the work.
Question: Have you been through a similar experience? What would you have me know?
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